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Last Updated : Feb 18, 2019 09:16 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Lok Sabha polls 2019: BJP to contest from 25 seats, Shiv Sena gets 23

The parties have also decided on a 50-50 arrangement for the assembly polls

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Stating that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena's "core beliefs" are the same, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on February 18 announced an alliance between the two parties.

For the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP will contest on 25 seats while Shiv Sena will contest on 23 seats, Fadnavis said.

The parties have also decided on a 50-50 arrangement for the Assembly elections, the Chief Minister said, adding that the remaining seats would be divided among other National Democratic Alliance (NDA) members in the state.

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Maharashtra has the second largest pool of Lok Sabha seats at 48 after Uttar Pradesh at 80. The state has 288 Assembly seats.

"We have been consistently in alliance with each other for the past 25 years. We had differences over some issues, but ideologically, we both have Hindutva agenda," Fadnavis said while addressing the media.

"Parties with nationalist thoughts should get together. We haven't taken this decision for power, but for the ideologies that we follow," Fadnavis said.

The Chief Minister said that in Lok Sabha polls, the two parties have come together primarily on the issue of Ram Mandir while for the Assembly elections, issues such as farmers' distress and problems facing the common man were considered.

Stating that building the Ram Mandir is a long-standing demand, Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray said that since the thoughts of both the parties are the same, they cannot "continue fighting on some misunderstandings."

"We cannot give back the nation to those who ruled the nation for 50 years. This is a new beginning. Every Hindu was waiting for this, and will be delighted by this announcement," Thackeray said.

BJP national President Amit Shah said the parties have come together on the basis of "cultural nationalism and Ram Mandir" and that the coalition would win "minimum of 45 seats in the Lok Sabha polls."

"BJP's oldest allies are Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, and both the parties have stood with us in both good times and bad. I admit that there were some differences in the middle, but I am happy that we have let go of those differences and are fighting together," Shah said.

The Sena had reportedly sought ‘Big Brother’ status in Maharashtra and demanded a return to the 1995 seat-sharing formula, wherein the Thackeray-led party had contested 169 seats, while the BJP was given a much smaller chunk (116 out of the 288 seats) in the Maharashtra Assembly.

The Sena has been publically criticising the BJP on a number of issues. In early 2018, the Sena had announced that it would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the Maharashtra Assembly elections separately over disagreements with the BJP. However, there has been a thaw in their relationship in recent months.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis too had expressed that both parties (BJP and Shiv Sena) would suffer if the alliance ends.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the NDA  won 42 out of the 48 seats in the state. BJP and Shiv Sena bagged 23 and 18 seats, respectively. Their then ally Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Paksha secured one seat.

In terms of vote share, BJP and Shiv Sena bagged 27.56 and 20.82 percent of the votes, respectively.

The subsequent Assembly elections had seen BJP winning 122 seats while the Sena had won 63.

Winning a significant chunk of seats in the state would improve chances of either the NDA or Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) of forming the government at the Centre.



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First Published on Feb 18, 2019 08:13 pm
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